How to avoid frostbite
Besides dressing warmly, Cover every part of your skin. Exposed skin is especially vulnerable to frostbite, especially ears, fingers, and nose. I’m a skier, just back from skiing in Quebec, where temperatures were as low as 8 below at the summits of Mont Ste. Anne and Le Massif de Charlevoix, and every part of me was covered by at least one layer of fleece or other insulation, including the tip of my nose.
Frostbite should be taken seriously. Untreated frostbite can permanently damage skin, nerves and other underlying tissues permanently. Get to help or a warm area before the frostbitten area re-freezes, since re-freezing can cause additional serious tissue damage.
It’s easier and less painful to prevent frostbite than treat it.
How to recognize frostbite
- Red, chapped skin is often the first symptom, along with feeling cold in the affected part.
- Extreme pain in the effected area is next.
- Numbness and pale, shiny skin follow, including the affected part turning white.
- Blisters or red swollen skin indicate an advancing stage of frostbite and likely permanent damage to the skin.
- Frostbitten skin might fall off the bone.
How to treat frostbite
Get inside to get warm. Warm water – not hot water – will help warm up frostbitten fingers, toes and facial parts. Don’t rub affected parts since that can further damage skin and the nerves below. Be careful if you try to warm up by an open fire or stove, since frostbite also damages the senses to feel when skin is burning. This video has additional tips. You can also download a FREE first aid app from the Red Cross which includes tips on tips on treating frostbite.